Institute for Management Accountants (IMA)

It operates in 150 different countries and have more than 350 professional and student branches.

Author: Kevin Henderson
Kevin Henderson
Kevin Henderson
Private Equity | Corporate Finance

Kevin is currently the Head of Execution and a Vice President at Ion Pacific, a merchant bank and asset manager based Hong Kong that invests in the technology sector globally. Prior to joining Ion Pacific, Kevin was a Vice President at Accordion Partners, a consulting firm that works with management teams at portfolio companies of leading private equity firms.

Previously, he was an Associate in the Power, Energy, and Infrastructure Investment Banking group at Lazard in New York where he completed numerous M&A transactions and advised corporate clients on a range of financial and strategic issues. Kevin began his career in corporate finance roles at Enbridge Inc. in Canada. During his time at Enbridge Kevin worked across the finance function gaining experience in treasury, corporate planning, and investor relations.

Kevin holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Queen's University and is a CFA Charterholder.

Reviewed By: Patrick Curtis
Patrick Curtis
Patrick Curtis
Private Equity | Investment Banking

Prior to becoming our CEO & Founder at Wall Street Oasis, Patrick spent three years as a Private Equity Associate for Tailwind Capital in New York and two years as an Investment Banking Analyst at Rothschild.

Patrick has an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School and a BA in Economics from Williams College.

Last Updated:December 3, 2023

What is the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA)?

For an organization to be financially healthy, management accountants are essential. They make important decisions, protect a business's reputation, and develop sustainability plans.

They might be one of many game-changers on internal teams, including CFOs, controllers, budget analysts, and treasurers. Most importantly, the bulk of the accounting and finance personnel contribute to the strategy and value of a business in an unpredictably competitive market.

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is an international organization for company accountants and financial specialists. It has been one of the biggest and most prestigious organizations dedicated solely to developing the management accounting profession since 1919.

They operate in 150 different countries and have more than 350 professional and student branches.

They are dedicated to assisting more than 140,000 members in enhancing their job abilities, improving company management, and accelerating careers. 

They invite the members to explore the plethora of opportunities offered by the industry and create a management accounting future that can be implemented. They are the only company that offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) with a high-ROI credential, which is always obtained by passing a multi-part test.

The goal of this organization is to be the top source for training, certifying, connecting, and assisting the best accountants and financial professionals in the business world.

They offer CMA certification for crucial internal financial management duties like planning, budgeting, business reporting, decision analysis, and risk management.

They also assist members in developing their careers by giving them access to a vibrant professional network, ongoing education opportunities, valuable data, and tools.

By promoting the highest moral standards for internal financial management processes, they also assist members and their companies in enhancing corporate success.

Finally, they create lucrative businesses and organizations that demand the capacity to overcome changing commercial environments. The institution's members are always willing to assist with the process.

Key takeaways

  • IMA is one of the largest and most prominent organizations focused on advancing the management accounting profession, the international association for corporate accountants and financial specialists.
  • The organization's expanding role as the association for accountants and other financial specialists who work for businesses was reflected in their change.
  • Accountants and financial professionals are well-suited to lead the global transformation toward performance and value that considers the environment, society, and governance.
  • Basic IMA values include developing, supporting, and promoting a diverse, equitable, and welcoming member community, accounting, and finance profession, and corporate workplace.
  • Strategic partnerships with other organizations and a wide range of advertising and promotional opportunities help IMA members' businesses grow and offer value.
  • Numerous tactics are blended to build yearly collaborations with various projects in this institution.
  • It is important to note that everyone needs to gain basic knowledge of finance, which is fundamental in their daily life. If you become an IMA partner in the future or deal with everyday problems, always keep learning.

Mission of IMA

The IMA's objective is to provide a venue for research, practice development, education, information sharing, and advocacy of the most morally upstanding and successful commercial practices in management accounting and finance.

a) Application of their mission

To realize its mission, the Institute For Management Accountants makes the following attempts:

  • Offering an elite certification with a solid return on investment
  • Establishing a lifetime of relationships and resources for your career in a professional network
  • Launching CPE-eligible educational initiatives to advance business expertise and leadership potential
  • Giving the field a voice through perceptive and pertinent journals and newsletters
  • Serving as a thought leader in innovative research and best practices for the industry
  • Defending the industry in a challenging regulatory environment

b) IMA's core values

They align the organization with these five global core values to fulfill this mission:

  • Respect for the Person
  • Dedicated to Serving Members
  • Maximum Integrity and Trust Standards
  • Innovation and ongoing development
  • Teamwork for Success
  • Ethical Professional Practice Statement

They uphold strict business ethics norms. Following the Statement of Ethical Professional Practice is a requirement for all members.

c) Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The creation, fostering, and promotion of a diverse, egalitarian, and inclusive member community, accounting and finance profession, and corporate workplace are fundamental IMA values.

They encourage everyone to appreciate one another and have a sense of community. The members have great value for their effort and appreciate assistance from others, which benefits them long-term.

This institution focuses on maintaining a varied talent pool, encouraging the members to keep their characteristics and show their abilities and advantages.

They provide an environment that is open-minded and welcomes different viewpoints to develop and generate value by working together to find novel ideas and taking concrete steps:

  • Increasing sensitivity to bias
  • Securing talent diversity
  • Promoting equity in professional advancement
  • Increasing responsibility for accomplishment

History of IMA

The IMA has been at the forefront of management accounting and financial professionals for almost a century.

Their narrative is one of gradual change and steadfast dedication. Yet, they never lost sight of their aim to uphold the profession as they advanced through each decade.

The National Association of Cost Accountants (NACA) was established in Buffalo, New York, in 1919 to foster greater awareness of cost accountants' function in management.

The National Association of Accountants (NAA) became the organization's name in 1957, ushering in a period during which the trademark credential was created.

The organization's name was changed in 1991 to the Institute of Management Accountants, which is still in use today. 

This modification reflected the organization's expanded position as the association for accountants and other financial experts who work for businesses. This institution has been committed to professional excellence for nearly a century.


Let's look at the timeline below:

  • The National Association of Cost Accountants (NACA), a precursor to the IMA, was established in Buffalo, New York, in 1919.
  • The first NACA chapter was established in Chicago in 1920, and the inaugural NACA Annual Conference took place in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
  • The NACA Bulletin was first published in 1925.
  • The NACA national office library was founded in 1935.
  • The first international chapter was established in 1943.
  • The research committee was created in 1945.
  • The NACA Bulletin started appearing every month in 1949.
  • NACA changed its name to the National Association of Accountants in 1957 (NAA).
  • Student Publication Services was established in 1959.
  • The Management Accounting Practices Committee started operating in 1969.
  • The curriculum to become a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) was established in 1972. The inaugural Statement on Management Accounting (SMA) Concepts for Contract Costing was published.
  • The first code of ethics for management accountants in the United States, the Standards of Ethical Conduct of Management Accountants, was published in 1983.
  • The program for the Financial Executive of the Year Award (FEYA) was started in 1989.
  • The Institute of Management Accountants replaced the National Association of Accountants in 1991 (IMA).
  • It joined the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), a business group working to raise the standard of financial reporting, as a founding member in 1992.
  • In 1994, it published Proud of the Past-75 Years of Achievement to commemorate its 75th birthday. In addition, it established the Foundation for Applied Research (FAR) to promote management accounting.
  • It created the Certified Financial Manager (CFM) curriculum in 1996.
  • The CMA and CFM exams were digitized in 1997.
  • It revamped and rebranded its leading publication Strategic Finance in 1999 and made it online. In the same year, the Management Accounting Quarterly made its debut.
  • The initial Student Conference took place in Colorado Springs in 2000.
  • First Global Conference occurred in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2006.
  • An exclusive online professional community was introduced in 2009.
  • 2011 saw the introduction of the CMA test in Simple Chinese and the opening of IMA's first European headquarters in Zurich.
  • The CMA program recognized 40 years of accomplishments in 2012.
  • They became a member of IFAC in 2013 to support the international management accounting profession.
  • 2014 saw the opening of new regional offices in Shanghai.
  • They introduced a new book series in 2015 with the first book on innovation.
  • The ICMA issued the 50,000th CMA certificate in 2016. In Singapore, this organization opened its eighth international location.
  • The CSCA, a specialty credential for CMAs, was created in 2017. (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis).
  • They celebrated their 100th year of helping to advance the field of management accounting in 2019.

Management of IMA

Operating in a manner that acknowledges the limited nature and value of resources is what is meant by sustainable company management. Resources must be managed to maintain and increase value for all parties which support an organization.

Based on a foundation of moral values, accountants and financial experts are well-suited to lead the worldwide transformation toward performance and value that considers the environment, society, and governance.

a) Sustainable management

All facets of the Management Accounting Competency Framework align with sustainable business management. 

It reflects strategy, business partnering, cross-disciplinary collaboration, technology, and leadership. It also reflects reporting and control.

A global task force for sustainable business management has been established—long-time members of this task team are devoted volunteers.

To direct the development of an effective and sustainable accounting environment, they have released a Statement of Position on Sustainable Business Information and Management.

b) Special event

On May 6, the IMA observes International Management Accounting Day. This international day of observance honors the crucial function that management accountants provide inside their enterprises.

Finance and accounting experts seek to provide insights, assist their firms in realizing latent potential, and improve operations worldwide.

Even though this task is done every day of the year, management accountants are officially recognized on May 6.

Their training programs and products are informed by thought leadership, giving members insight into staying current in the rapidly evolving digital age.

As the premier informational resource for management accountants, this organization is happy to honor the contributions made by finance and accounting experts worldwide on this particular day in May.

Membership Benefits

By highlighting the goods, services, and cutting-edge technology, IMA's strategic alliances and various advertising and promotional possibilities assist members' businesses expand and add value.

By partnering with IMA, the members can reach over 100,000 accountants and financial professionals working in businesses of all sizes and industries worldwide.

CFOs, VPs, controllers, directors, managers, analysts, educators, and other practitioners are available for the members to get in touch if they need to seek decision and influence-making advice.

This provides possibilities for connecting with people in the financial field, which helps their members build a constant, high–quality and professional social network to a great extent.

It also helps maintain a long-term relationship with those who can offer potential assistance in their future career.

Thousands of members hold professional credentials, such as CMA or Certified Public Accountant (CPA). They engage these audiences through exciting and targeted partnership marketing channels.

Strategic Partnerships

With the help of strategic alliances, the members can reach out to new clients, produce qualified leads, and earn quantifiable investment returns. Each campaign is based on the members' objectives and activities.

For members who have their own businesses or are just self-employed in all kinds of industries, it is crucial to develop the potential clients and partners they need to cooperate with, which brings more chances for them to make their service well-known.

Their strategic relationships involve exclusive platform ownership that uses leadership and brand assets to promote the goods and services.

They develop an integrated and adaptable outreach campaign in partnership with clients, combining traditional, face-to-face, and online strategies that have an impact on and influence their members.

Through these strategies, the members reach what they may not have been able to in the past because of the vast network in this association, which benefits them a lot when there is new demand for their career development.

Extra programs

Besides the advantages provided above, this association also offers all kinds of resources for its members. Numerous strategies are combined to create yearly collaborations, which are represented by the programs listed below:

1. Webinars

This association plays a role of a sponsor for popular live webinars by presenting or supporting its members. As a result, their engaging webinars garner a sizable audience, with 1,300 registrations and 800-1,000 participants on average.

They advise best practices, strengthen the members' position as a thought leader, and raise brand awareness. They also help their members leave a lasting positive impression on their clients.

2. Email Blasts

The association sends targeted thought leadership or promotional information to the members. They optimize the outreach with a tailored campaign as well.

3. Annual Conference & Expo

Meeting in person with close to 1,000 solution-hungry C-suite executives, influencers, and decision-makers who work in management accounting and finance is made possible by the association.

Their services include assistance for the members to overcome obstacles in their workplace, acquire an edge over rivals, and enhance the value of their businesses. 

They also look for tools and techniques to help their members solve business problems.

4. Student Leadership Conference

This association's Annual Student Leadership Conference attracts more than 600 students and educators in accounting, finance, and information technology.

This is a great way to boost the visibility of the business owned by some members and also help them fill the human resources talent pipeline.

5. Corporate Recognition Events Sponsorship

The members can attend their invitation-only Corporate Recognition events, making it possible to contact the C-suite. 

These networking events are held in numerous cities several times a year in the US and celebrate senior financial leaders who apply best practices in their firms.

The members can receive participant follow-up data, introduce their prospects, and gain prominent brand exposure. In addition, the local sales executives will be allowed to mingle with participants and address the group with greetings.

6. Women's Accounting Leadership Event Series Sponsorship

These half-day gatherings, held twice a year, bring together women in accounting and finance to discuss careers and technical accounting concerns.

An average of 125 to 150 women show up here to network, learn and share. A prospective speaking opportunity is one of the critical advantages of this exclusive sponsorship.

7. Thought Leadership Development

They do market-leading research and provide comprehensive knowledge for management accountants and other business leaders. For many of these research projects, they offer co-branded supporting sponsorships. 

They can also design unique co-branded research for the members to develop their careers through leadership positioning, lead nurturing, and content marketing initiatives.

Digital resources

They also provide access to several digital resources for their members, which is intended to help them create a more comprehensive network for their financial careers. Digital resources mainly contain two types as follows:

1. Strategic Finance Magazine

The members reach a global network of senior executives and professionals in accounting and finance by placing an ad or writing a feature article for this award-winning monthly publication – Strategic Finance Magazine.

The magazine is ideal for marketers who must communicate a compelling message and support their content marketing efforts. It has a total qualified paid readership of close to 60,000 and consistently ranks as the most accessed member perk.

2. Strategic Finance Digital

They cast a vast network by using Strategic Finance Digital for internet advertising. Exclusive advertiser placement includes banner advertising, and SF Alert emails sent multiple times monthly to over 90,000 global members and subscribers.

Reviewed and Edited by Sakshi Uradi | LinkedIn

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